These are just two of the ways protected areas — in their many forms including national parks, marine reserves and community conserved areas — support human life. Not only are they key to securing our water and food supplies, they also reduce the impact of disasters and help us recover from them.
Healthy forests stabilise soils, helping to prevent landslides and avalanches, wetlands and river basins purify water and reduce flooding, while mangroves and coral reefs protect coastlines from storms. All these ‘services’ help sustain the wellbeing and livelihoods of millions of people around the world.
The IUCN World Parks Congress, taking place in November, will showcase the many ways in which we can safeguard ecosystems – our life support. It will highlight the successes and challenges of various approaches, be they government legislation, economic incentives or community-led initiatives.